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For the first time worldwide, free & ready-to-use high-resolution satellite data is now available to monitor forests & help reduce emissions from deforestation & forest degradation. The monitoring system has been launched by FAO and other partners as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment. The monitoring system delivers data in a global sample grid at 13 000 locations and provides tools for their interpretation. It is designed to improve global and regional information on forest change in FAO’s assessments of forests. For a country the sample grid can be intensified and become a cost-efficient approach to measure national forest trends.

“This brings a revolution to the forest monitoring field. Never before have data of this kind been provided directly to users in developing countries. Monitoring will be cheaper, more accurate and transparent for countries that want to participate in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.” – FAO Director General Jacques Diouf.

Visit the Global Forest Resources Assessment website…

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The October issue of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, featuring news on: five new countries that joined the UN-REDD Programme; the first regional consultation between indigenous peoples’ organizations from Asia and the Pacific and the UN-REDD Programme; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s request for funding of a Congo Basin approach for monitoring, reporting and verification.

Recommendations from the regional consultation included:

  1. taking advantage of the opportunity that REDD provides for engagement among the various stakeholders: CSOs, indigenous peoples, local government, private sector, and others
  2. strengthening the opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue
  3. addressing the widespread need for REDD training and awareness raising
  4. a call to the UN-REDD Programme and to the United Nations in general to support governments to improve their means of communication and working relationships with indigenous peoples and their organizations

The Newsletter also includes an analysis on best practices in engaging civil society in REDD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and promoting co-benefits of forests. It reports on the XIII World Forestry Congress’s support of the inclusion of REDD-plus in the agreement on long-term cooperative action under UNFCCC.

Read the October issue of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter…

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After being nominated and self-selected by civil society organizations (CSOs) worldwide, the CSO representatives to the UN-REDD Policy Board were announced to be: Pacifique Mukumba Isumbisho, Support Center for Indigenous Pygmies and Vulnerable Minorities; Effrey Dademo, the Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum; Paula Moreira, Amazon Environmental Research Institute; and Rosalind Reeve, Global Witness.

One full member seat and three observer seats on the Policy Board are reserved for representatives of civil society, and full member status will rotate among the group of CSO representatives at least once per year. The CSO representatives will, inter alia, participate in and provide input for Policy Board meetings and share and disseminate information among their networks and constituencies.

Read the UN-REDD press release…

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The REDD Site is back

UNU_TKI_RGBThe REDD Site is part of a pilot project on promoting the effective participation of indigenous peoples in REDD processes that was initiated in July 2008 by the Traditional Knowledge Initiative of the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies. The overall aim of this project is to assist with current efforts to raise awareness about REDD issues amongst indigenous people. A secondary aim of the project is to assist indigenous peoples to develop long term strategy to empower themselves and support the development of a strong voice and platform for their views in the development of REDD activities.

This website has a specific focus on the ongoing development of an international REDD mechanism and its implications for indigenous peoples, as well as highlighting REDD projects and resources relevant to their particular needs. Following a successful 6-month pilot period from July-December 2008, and several requests from stakeholders, we are resuming this initiative to assist in the lead up to the Copenhagen discussions in December 2009. Major publications from the past 6 months have been reviewed and added to the site, and several special contributors have been appointed to provide original material in the form of on-the-ground reports from regions around the world over the next few months.

As always, your feedback about the resource, suggestions for improvement, or requests to participate in the initiative are warmly welcomed. Please contact the Traditional Knowledge Initiative with any proposals.

–Kirsty Galloway McLean, Editor

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With the approval of the readiness plans for Guyana and Panama, the World Bank moves its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility forward despite civil society protests World Bank Information Center, 29 June 2009

bicThe third meeting of the Participants Committee (PC) of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) was held in Montreaux, Switzerland, from 15-18 June 2009. On the agenda for this meeting were readiness plans (R-Plans) from three countries: Guyana, Panama and Indonesia. While there was significant debate within the PC around weaknesses in all three R-plans, the political pressure to move the process forward won the day, with approval of the Guyana and Panama plans, and approval pending for Indonesia.

The TAP reports for Guyana, Panama and Indonesia all noted significant weaknesses in the R-Plans, one of the main complaints being that their analysis of the drivers of deforestation was incomplete and poorly aligned with their proposed strategies. Another big issue is the weak governance of forests in the majority of REDD countries, Guyana and Panama being among those with relatively strong institutional frameworks. Because many of the last remaining areas of forest in the world are home to indigenous peoples who are, in many cases, responsible for their preservation, states must finally recognize the land and natural resource rights of their indigenous peoples. Such recognition must be accompanied by demarcation, land titling and effective protections against encroachment by miners, loggers and settlers. This requires political will at the top level of government, and entails some degree of confrontation with powerful economic interests who are currently profiting from deforestation.

The approval of the R-Plans also places the spotlight on the governments of Guyana, Panama and Indonesia, who, as the first countries to formally begin REDD readiness under the auspices of the World Bank, will be carefully scrutinized. The experiences of these pilot countries will be used to assess whether the FCPF process is capable of facilitating sustained and effective engagement with civil society and indigenous peoples, and of producing high quality plans for reducing deforestation that are credible both nationally and internationally.

Read the World Bank article [html]…

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June 2009 Coalition Statement at the Bonn Climate Talks

ClimateTalksA broad coalition of activist groups released a consensus statement at the U.N. climate talks in Bonn Germany stating that a global framework on climate change must immediately halt deforestation and industrial logging of the world’s old-growth forests, while protecting the rights of forest communities and indigenous groups.

“Climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different mindsets with full respect for Nature, and not on carbon offset mechanisms. Public funding mechanisms that ensure environmental integrity and equitable distribution of funds must be made established.” – Coalition Statement

The coalition statement calls upon industrialized countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050 as an “absolute minimum” in addition to providing “sufficient financial and technological support to enable developing countries to halt the destruction of forests and other ecosystems.” The targets are well above those laid out by industrialized countries, which generally fall in the 15-30 percent range by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050.

Read the Statement at MongaBay [html]…

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Jeff Hayward: Quantifying Carbon, Communities, and More
Ecosystem Marketplace | 27 October 2008

Jeff HaywardThe debate over Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) hinges on how to verify the amount of carbon captured in trees and how to determine whether the actions being paid for actually cause a net capture of carbon. It’s sticky territory that the climate initiative manager for nonprofit conservation organization Rainforest Alliance – Jeff Hayward first traversed while validating the then-nebulous concept of “sustainable” forestry, and he believes today’s projects will only succeed if they think beyond carbon.

“Carbon alone is not going to protect these forests… To be sustained over time, carbon projects must take an integrated approach, bringing in additional sources of income for the communities whose participation is essential to the survival of these projects.” — Jeff Hayward, Rainforest Alliance

Hayward says that, over time, he’s developed the ability to know going in which projects have the highest chance of success. “The first clue is a well-run organization with a really concrete set of goals and objectives, and the institutional capacity to make it happen,” he says. Then Hayward and Rainforest Alliance look at the project’s environmental and social impacts. Are the right tree species being planted? How does the project aid biodiversity? And, how’s the community relationship — are materials in a local language? Are they explained in a way that a non-scientist can understand?

Hayward says that all of the recent REDD projects he’s evaluated had not just conservation components but other types of economic benefits to local people as well. “What’s pretty cool about all of this is that in the last few years, so much has come together that was missing,” Hayward says, citing the emergence of markets and convincing carbon-based science, along with a surge of public support with the help of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. “Now we just need to keep pushing hard and pedaling as hard as we can to make sure that these systems improve and keep going forward.”

Read the full article…

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